Ready for UFC 257? It's finally time for the return of Conor McGregor, who fought only once last year, thanks to the disruption of the COVID-19. But now McGregor is back in the Octagon for UFC 257, fighting against elite lightweight contender Dustin Poirier. The fighters have made weight. Now all that's left is for both McGregor and Poirier to make the walk.
With current UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov all but officially retired, this contest is seen by many as a title eliminator. Most likely the winner will fight for the belt later down the track in 2021, potentially against Charles Oliveira or the winner of Dan Hooker vs. Michael Chandler.
Also looming in the wings is Nurmagomedov who, according to Dana White, will be watching UFC 257. If someone does something spectacular, reports say, he may come back for one more defence of his UFC lightweight title.
The fight takes place on the UFC's Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
Start times: Today (Saturday, Jan. 23):
- The main card starts 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT)
- The prelims start 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT).
- The early prelims start 6.30 p.m. ET (3.30 p.m. PT)
This isn't the first time this fight has taken place. McGregor defeated Poirier comfortably the last time they fought over six years ago at UFC 178, but Poirier has improved dramatically since then. He defeated Max Holloway for the UFC interim lightweight championship, and put up a decent showing against Nurmagomedov, the current lightweight king. The undefeated Nurmagomedov also defeated McGregor in 2018.
Despite Poirier's improvements, most oddsmakers have McGregor as a clear favorite in this bout. His destruction of Donald Cerrone in 2020, combined with the style matchup, has most people seeing this as a favorable fight for McGregor. Poirier is primarily a boxer and McGregor is still the sharpest striker at 155 pounds.
McGregor also appears to be in phenomenal shape and, by most reports, is as motivated as he's been since his legendary first run at featherweight. We could be in for something special with this performance. McGregor has predicted he'll win this fight inside 60 seconds.
Personally, I'm a big fan of the UFC's Inside the Octagon series, which breaks down the match-up. The McGregor vs Poirier one is already online.
But outside of the blockbuster main event, UFC 257 runs deep. Michael Chandler is making his UFC debut against fight of the night machine Dan Hooker in a compelling co-main event and the undercard is dotted with names like Joanne Calderwood. There's a lot of great matchups in there.
Both main event fighters made weight. If you missed it, here's the final face-off between McGregor and Poirier...
The card did lose a few fights in the undercard however. Check below for the full fight card.
How to watch UFC 257
This year the UFC entered into a new partnership with ESPN. That's great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you're one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.
It's worth noting, however, that the UFC has increased the price of PPVs starting with UFC 257.
In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 257, you'll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN's site:
- Existing yearly ESPN Plus subscribers can order the upcoming UFC fight for $70.
- Existing monthly ESPN Plus subscribers will be able to either upgrade to an annual plan and buy UFC PPV for $85 or purchase the ability to watch the UFC event on PPV for $70 by itself.
- New ESPN Plus subscribers can buy a bundle of one UFC PPV event (streaming in HD) and an ESPN Plus annual recurring subscription for $90. This is a decent deal. The previous bundle gave a saving of 25% but this new bundle is a 35% saving. The ESPN Plus annual ESPN subscription will auto-renew after one year, at the price of an ESPN Plus annual subscription at the time of auto-renewal.
You can do all of the above at the link below.
MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 257 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 257 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.
The card is now finalized, and based on previous UFC times, this is the schedule we expect...
- The main card starts Jan. 23, 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT).
- The prelims start Jan. 23, 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT).
- The early prelims start Jan. 23, 6.30 p.m. ET (3.30 p.m. PT).
- The main card starts Jan. 24, 3 a.m. GMT.
- The prelims start Jan. 24, 1 a.m. GMT.
- The early prelims start Jan 23, 11.30 p.m. GMT.
- The main card starts Jan. 24, 2 p.m. AEDT.
- The prelims start Jan. 24, 12 p.m. AEDT.
- The early prelims start Jan. 24, 10.30 a.m. AEDT.
Here is the full, final fight card...
- Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier
- Michael Chandler vs. Dan Hooker
- Jessica Eye vs. Joanne Calderwood
- Andrew Sanchez vs. Makhmud Muradov
- Marina Rodriguez vs. Amanda Ribas
- Arman Tsarukyan vs. Matt Frevola
- Brad Tavares vs. Antonio Carlos Junior
- Julianna Pena vs. Sara McMann
- Khalil Rounree Jr vs. Marcin Prachnio
- Nik Lentz vs. Movsar Evloev
- Amir Albazi vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov